DNC Memo Labels Protestors "Extreme" and "Thuggish"

Earlier today I blogged about the "fringe" healthcare protests and the responses by some of the Democrats on the Hill. Now however, the Democratic Party has gone yet another step further in denouncing the opposition's message. In a memo that was distributed earlier today, Democrats blasted the protests calling them a "sham" and that they were "being organized and largely paid for by Washington special interests and insurance companies who are desperate to block reform."

The memo went on to say, "We need to expose these outrageous tactics, and we're counting on you to help. Can you read these '5 facts about the anti-reform mobs,' then pass them along to your friends and family?" (Note the attempt to label the protests something really negative like 'anti-reform' mobs. That, of course, is not an 'outrageous tactic' at all).

Some more snippets from the memo:

1. These disruptions are being funded and organized by out-of-district special-interest groups and insurance companies who fear that health insurance reform could help Americans, but hurt their bottom line. A group run by the same folks who made the "Swiftboat" ads against John Kerry is compiling a list of congressional events in August to disrupt. An insurance company coalition has stationed employees in 30 states to track where local lawmakers hold town-hall meetings.

2. People are scared because they are being fed frightening lies. These crowds are being riled up by anti-reform lies being spread by industry front groups that invent smears to tarnish the President's plan and scare voters...

3. Their actions are getting more extreme. Texas protesters brought signs displaying a tombstone for Rep. Lloyd Doggett and using the "SS" symbol to compare President Obama's policies to Nazism. Maryland Rep. Frank Kratovil was hanged in effigy outside his district office. Rep. Tim Bishop of New York had to be escorted to his car by police after an angry few disrupted his town hall meeting...

4. Their goal is to disrupt and shut down legitimate conversation. Protesters have routinely shouted down representatives trying to engage in constructive dialogue with voters, and done everything they can to intimidate and silence regular people who just want more information. One attack group has even published a manual instructing protesters to "stand up and shout" and try to "rattle" lawmakers to prevent them from talking peacefully with their constituents.

5. Republican leadership is irresponsibly cheering on the thuggish crowds. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner issued a statement applauding and promoting a video of the disruptions and looking forward to "a long, hot August for Democrats in Congress."

First things first. The fact that the DNC felt the need to assemble such a list suggests they're worried about the fate of their beloved health care plan. But this memo may prove only to backfire because as soon as those crazy mob-members smell fear, well, then it's all over.

As for their emphasis on scare tactics, I'm pretty sure that if I really wanted to convince Americans that health care reform really is all it's cracked up to be, I wouldn't go about it by trying to frighten people with stories about effigies immediately after accusing the protestors of "frightening" the public with false claims. Furthermore, it wasn't that long ago that hatred of George W. Bush was spreading through the country like swine flu on a crowded airplane. I'd be willing to bet there has been more than one W. effigy.

As for number four, not every American is desperate for nationalized health care, yet lawmakers continue to push it day in and day out. Many of those people simply want an outlet to express their concerns—and legislators who will actually listen. So making the case that their goal is simply to "disrupt and shut down legitimate conversation" is a stretch at best.

Simply put, the left is attempting to discredit a legitimate message by attacking the messengers. Yes, fringe elements exist (as they do in every movement), but placing all the focus on that element makes it tough to have the "legitimate conversation" the Democrats say they desperately want.

But unfortunately, rounding up the opposition and labeling them "extreme" and "thuggish" in order to push an agenda seems to be the crux of the left's strategy these days.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    People are scared because they are being fed frightening lies.

    Have to agree with that. The lies being poured out by the white house are frightening indeed.

    -jcr

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    The DNC is right: many of those at townhalls are acting like thugs (when they aren't acting like children).

    The smart and effective thing to do is to ask politicians tough, adversarial questions on video and then upload the responses to video sites.

    Instead, the leaders of the opposition are encouraging people to act like baboons.

    Of course, none of that should be much of a surprise, since the leaders of the opposition to Obama are demonstrably incompetent.

  • Ska||

    Where's the fucking disclaimer you nutlicking fuckface?!

  • Mike in PA||

    This is extremely frightening. It's character assassination of American citizens by our government - simply because we question them.

    Is there any way to sue the DNC for this?

    This is outrageous! I'm pissed. And they want to say I'm a pawn?! You mean when I finally get the chance to address the stupidity of what congress is doing, I can't?!

    Sorry, this really gets to me. I've been called a Republican so many times it makes me sick. Can't I disagree with the idiocy of Washington without being labeled thuggish or stupid?

  • hmm||

    500 or bust.

  • Federal Dog||

    Interesting. Their desperation is really starting to reek.

    I would not have anticipated that Obama would have so utterly imploded so quickly.

  • Hobo Chang Ba||

    Remember when Democrats used to hate the whole "go along with our policy or you're against America" thing? Remember when Code Pink tried to disrupt Congress and attack congresspeople who were claiming to "defend the country" with anti-war slogans? (not that I disagree with their point, but...)

    Whichever party is in power sucks. That's my political philosophy.

  • ||

    The Republicans blew up that building in Oklahoma, you know.

  • ||

    To irony of this is just too delicous. Further, they are losing. I think healthcare is going to go down. This smacks of desparation

  • ||

    But unfortunately, rounding up the opposition and labeling them "extreme" and "thuggish" in order to push an agenda seems to be the crux of the Left's strategy these days.

    Rounding up the opposition has long been a favorite tactic of authoritarians.

  • ||

    And why have Taxpaying Citizens been declared thugs? Because they are asking legitimate quesitons and voicing concerns regarding the pending healthcare reforms and getting manufactured DNC propaganda?

    Our elected representatives should be held accountable for their actions in the Legislature. My e-mails to my elected representatives (all NY Democrats) have recieved responses, all nothing more than DNC propaganda. It indicated that the e-mail was not read and responded to intellegently. I can only guess why; maybe it was because the staffers were busy eating and drinking the "working lunch (dinner?)" offered by the lobbyists from the socialist interests and the medical lobby?

    When Taxpaying Citizens express concerns regarding pending healthcare "reform" that includes elimination of private insurance, rationing of care and restricting access to medical services, end of life counseling so I can die in a socially acceptable manner, public funding for abortion on demand, etc.; none of which have to do with systemic reform; I can understand the concern when they are ignored.

    What makes them angry is to be declared thugs for exercising their right to petition for redress of grievances in person with their representatives. And the Democrats must certainly understand that. Remember, they were the ones who endorsed "community activists" and activist group tactics like ACORN.

  • hmm||

    Oh the hypocrasy.

    1) ACORN, SEIU, AFL CIO, DNC, all guilty of this.

    2) Uh, and I quote:

    f nothing is done, economists from across the spectrum tell us that this recession could linger for years and the unemployment rate could reach double digits - and they warn that our nation could lose the competitive edge that has served as a foundation for our strength and standing in the world.



    3) Cindy Fucking Sheehan.

    4) Like these guys?

    5) this is just retarded given recent comments by Frank, Reid, and Pelosi towards those that disagree with them.

  • hmm||

    To be fair I am a little thugish, it's the redneck in me. And I am extreme to the max as well.

  • creech||

    The Tea Party group I belong to has funded everything out of our own pockets.

    None of the three congressmen representing this county have posted any Town Hall schedules. I called one and his staffer said they'd "let me know." Am I being paranoid or will they check my voting registration before "letting me know?"

    If you've ever been to a Town Hall meeting, you know you frequently get one question with no followups. Sometimes, you get to write a question on an index card and a staffer will decide if it even gets asked. It's pretty hard to say, "You didn't answer my question" or "I think you are wrong about that statement" when El Jefe has already called on the next person.

  • ||

    There's a lot of humor in this. After getting elected on the backs of denouncing Republicans, it turns out that indeed, that's all they have. :)

    Obviously, it's the fault of the GOP that despite filibuster-proof majorities in the House and Senate, and a President that's eager to sign anything that nationalizes anything, they can't get their pet projects passed.

    Yeah, it's the Republicans all right...

  • ||

    I'm all for egging W's limo, but am I the only one thinking of that scene from Fahrenheit 9/11?

  • Janeane Garofalo||

    You people are just a bunch of teabagging rednecks who can't have a civilized conversation.

  • hmm||

    I'm all for egging W's limo, but am I the only one thinking of that scene from Fahrenheit 9/11?

    I'm not. Dodging .357 sig rounds is not a fun thing. I imagine his SS detail is pretty on edge considering his last 8 years.

  • Gene Berkman||

    If the Insurance Companies were actually organizing these protests, the protesters would not likely be making threats to harm members of Congress.

    As for lies about the healthcare bill - since it is over 1000 pages long and the head of the Judiciary Committee has not read it, how do we know what provisions the bill contains? It is not possible to be sure any claim you make about the bill is either true or a lie.

  • Anonymous||

    Change a couple of words on that release and it would be indistinguishable from Republican talking points on the anti-war movement.

  • Mike M.||

    But unfortunately, rounding up the opposition and labeling them "extreme" and "thuggish" in order to push an agenda seems to be the crux of the Left's strategy these days.

    Unfortunate? I hope they keep going right on down this path, full steam ahead. Dial up the arrogance factor even higher, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Tell them all to eat cake! Next November will be a beatdown of 1994 proportions.

  • ||

    Wait a minute -- insurance companies bankrolled the Swift Boat ads?

    And if that NY Rep had to be escorted to his car by police, that's more indicative of an angry mob than "an angry few". If it was just a couple of nutjobs, the cops could have arrested them for disorderly conduct (sorry guys!) and Mr Congressasshole would have been safe.

    As much as I hope this is a last gasp of desperation on the part of the DNC, I keep in mind that they have plenty of willing stooges in the media who will take these ridiculous talking points and report them as fact.

  • ||

    The Democrats have gotten exponentially less capable of fucking up royally over time. They're going on half a year here, now. The GOP fucks us, but they fuck us slower and longer. The Dems are a quick, frantic screw. They're just trying to get off as fast as they can before we realize they're just in it to get off.

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    1. Speaking of "rounding up the opposition", I'm sure some SovietEmigres were having flashbacks to the way that those who have questions about our president were treated as if they were insane.

    2. There's nothing on

  • Rich||

    Next November will be a beatdown of 1994 proportions.

    Now *that* is extreme! ;-)

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    2. There's nothing on this video that has anything to do with debate. It's more like a scene from LordOfTheFlies.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Their actions are getting more extreme.



    Whenever I hear shit like this, I think of him. TO THE EXTREME!!

  • highnumber||

    I guess those talking points serve to point out the value of being ideologically pure:

    1. Of course there is money coming from special interests. That's true for both sides.

    2. There have been crazy-ass lies about the health care bill, like that euthanasia line.

    3. While you don't have to be a whack-job to be against the healthcare plan, there are some vocal whack-jobs against it. Some of them do seem to be working themselves into a lather.

    4. Same as #3

    5. Duh.

    This is exactly why your enemy's enemy should not automatically be your friend. It can be easily held against you as evidence that your side is nuts.

  • </||

    Maryland Rep. Frank Kratovil was hanged in effigy outside his district office.

    C'mon Maryland, fix it.

  • ||

    LoneWacko stared at his post, confused. Yeah, he was a dipshit--even he acknowledged that--but he at least knew his basic HTML.

    How could this have happened? He cast about in his mind for some way to blame DirtyIllegals, but...he just couldn't find a way. He nearly smashed his keyboard into kindling before restraining himself by putting his cigarette out on the head of his penis and taking a deep slug of Popov. Ok, he was under control now.

    He resigned himself to having to retype the post, and lit another Chesterfield. It was going to take him hours to reproduce those 3 sentences accusing Reason of being the OrangeLineMafia, so he'd better buckle down and get working.

    Meanwhile, the smell of his burnt glans filled his nostrils; that old, calming smell that reminded him of mommy. "Serenity now", he thought.

  • </||

    What is it with this "in effigy" shit anyways?
    Try "with the entrails of_________" next time.

  • ||

    Is there any way to sue the DNC for this?

    No, you can't file a class action for slander. It has to be personal.

    -jcr

  • highnumber||

    Addendum to my comment:

    Both sides ARE nuts.

  • ||

    Wait a minute -- insurance companies bankrolled the Swift Boat ads?


    AFAIK, the insurance companies hand out money to both of the Ruling Party franchises, with more going to incumbents. It's just a cost of doing business in an industry that relies on government regulation to suppress competition.

    -jcr

  • ||

    This memo is to convince the Democratic congressmen not to break and run.

    Standfast and be statesman and like the equally unpopular TARP/Stimulus/Cap&Trade you can vote for this and it won't cost you a thing (electorally speaking). If we push it through, the peasants will have forgotten it by november 2010.

    NANCY'S GOT YOUR BACK

  • ||

    Change a couple of words on that release and it would be indistinguishable from Republican talking points on the anti-war movement.

    Maybe Obama's staffers found some leftover talking points forms in the white house when they moved in.

    -jcr

  • jc||

    has any democrat anywhere ever described opposition to their policy proposals as anything but 'astro-turfing' or some variation?

    every proposal by a non-democrat is evil and/or a 'corporate giveaway' and every opposition movement to their proposals is 'astro-turfing'

  • ||

    Did the Dems learn nothing from the Bush admin?

    1. You handpick the attendees, only harcore supporters are allowed inside the event

    2. If someone manages to slip through, arrest them quickly and drag them outside

    3. The remaining mob of dissenters will be forced into a Free Speech Zone a mile away from the event and surrounded by razor wire and armed thugs.

    4. If 1-3 fails to produce the right results, then it is time for tasers and tear gas.

  • ||

    Wow, the DNC is starting to sound like the RNC when Bush was getting protested and the War in Iraq was being opposed.

    Hypocrite much?

  • ||

    So does this mean we are approaching Democracy? Mr. Jefferson?

  • ||

    Episiarch, I hope you write a novel some day. That was magnificent. Twisted and hilarious at the same time.

  • ||

    Sitting back and trying to get a little perspective on things, I think the Democrats are acting very much like a party that has been out of power and expects to return to that state. Trying to cram a whole bunch of wishlist items into the "stimulus" bill. Trying--again--to push nationalized healthcare on a mostly unwilling populace. Etc., etc. No patience. No belief that they have time to do all of these things.

    I don't think 2010 will match the scope of 1994, because the GOP had its act together much, much more in the early 90s than it does now, but the Democrats are doing the hard work for the GOP. I'm about certain that one house will go back, and I think if things keep trending the way they are, we'll see the whole Congress back with the GOP. Which is okay with me, except that a single-term Obama could mean all-GOP government again in 2012. I'd rather avoid that, preferring divided government all the time.

  • alan||

    I imagine his SS detail is pretty on edge considering his last 8 years.

    Talk about public employees with real jobs. Those guys nobody can envy.

  • Anonymous||

    Communism is a hard sell.

  • alan||

    This is exactly why your enemy's enemy should not automatically be your friend. It can be easily held against you as evidence that your side is nuts.

    Don't worry Highnumber, old buddy, we do keep an eye on you, and have the funny farm on speed dial in the case you ever need to go there.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I hear the Democratic Party is organizing another town hall meeting. They even have trains that all the "fringe" can board that will take them there.

  • alan||

    Which is okay with me, except that a single-term Obama could mean all-GOP government again in 2012. I'd rather avoid that, preferring divided government all the time.

    It occurred to me when Obama made the comment about being a Chicago School free market at heart, he was setting up his stakes for the Democratic congressional collapse to come back as a Clinton(Bill) moderate for the second half of the first term. He would be strongly positioned for a second term if we have a gridlocked system once more. Oh, dare to dream.

  • ||

    Malto, if you search around, there are a whole bunch of installments of what we call "LoneWacko: The Novel" scattered around reason's threads, written by me and with some contributions from others as well. I should have kept track of them but...I didn't.

    If you bother, search "LoneWacko" or "LoneWhacko" with "Episiarch", "despair", "impotent rage", "Hugh Jazz", "cheap bourbon" and "I.P. Knightly". That's all I can think of right now.

  • Hacha Cha||

    they don't like the fact that most Americans are never going to be in favor of a totally government run health care system. they failed miserably in the 90s and they will fail again. they don't want to listen to the fact that we don't want their batshit crazy ideas on health care to become a reality. health care is in the shit state it is today because of government interference. have the democrats forgotten the Walter Reed scandals of a couple years ago or the continuing proof that veterans aren't getting good health care? do they seriously think people will believe that if the government can't take care of their own that they are going to be able to take care of us all.

  • Paul||

    These disruptions are being funded and organized by out-of-district special-interest groups and insurance companies



    Fuck you with highly polished knobs on. Washington DC and the Obama administration is an out-of-district special-interest group as far as I'm concerned.

  • ||

    I am highly amused at the idea of a heavily coordinated DNC and White House strategy, involving conference calls with top bloggers, to counteract the AstroTurf menace.

  • Paul||

    The Republicans blew up that building in Oklahoma, you know.

    Win. Except it was Rush Limbaugh and 'his ilk' to be nit-picky.

  • ||

    From the looks of most of the videos I've seen most Obamacare protesters are senior citizens. So the Dems broke the number one rule of staying in power: Don't fuck with old people. They have nothing but time on their withered hands.

    Secondly, how are these senior citizens going to react when their grandkids tell them what a "tea-bagger" is and they figure out that elected officials are using lame sexual innuendo to denigrate them.

    Seems like the AARP stooges didn't do their homework on how seniors would react to this.

  • Tricky Prickears ||

    Bush/Cheyney destroyed careers, publicly ridiculed, scape-goated and imprisoned, and even placed people on no fly lists that publicly spoke out against the administration or went off message. But these were mostly people from inside the beltway. The dems are going after "regular Americans". Trying to portray them as retards that can't think for themselves. This may be true, but I don't think it's wise to do so. Sure, they look like total fucking whack jobs in those videos, but so do the Nader single payer advocates. I think people are correct in opposing this plan, but I think they oppose it for the wrong reasons. The latest talking point seems to be that they don't want the government to control 1/7 of the total economy. Well, maybe health care shouldn't be 1/7 of the total economy to begin with. That should give them some clue as to why we have the problems we do with heath care in general.

  • It fell on willfully deaf ears||

    "Did the Dems learn nothing from the Bush admin?

    1. You handpick the attendees, only harcore supporters are allowed inside the event

    2. If someone manages to slip through, arrest them quickly and drag them outside

    3. The remaining mob of dissenters will be forced into a Free Speech Zone a mile away from the event and surrounded by razor wire and armed thugs.

    4. If 1-3 fails to produce the right results, then it is time for tasers and tear gas."


    but worth a repeat (not Scott).

  • ||

    Ha, this memo reminds me of Rumsfeld claiming that the resistance in Iraq was "just a few deadenders" and that the people of Iraq welcomed their "liberators" with open arms.

    One thing I'll NEVER accuse a politician of is originality.

  • ||

    These fuckers have looted the treasury, nationalized the auto industry, expanded pretty much every Bush policy they decried during the election, and are now attempting to railroad through the socialization of 1/6th of the U.S. economy ... and we're expected to engage in reasoned and civil discourse in response. Fuck them. I'm rooting for Obama and Congress to fail so hard that Webster's has to come up with an entirely new word for it.

  • ||

    I can't believe some of you are coming out and defending these busloads of crazies and their ridiculous, coordinated, intimidatory behavior - it does nothing to dissuade anyone with concerns over health care reform, kills serious discussion and lauds blind, bullish, lazy, fat-ass ignorance. Way to go on the tit-for-tat "well the unions/commies do it too" - now what do you say the next time you see an aggressive union picket line? Accusing your opponent of hypocrisy is the cheapest debate point in the book.

  • Wliiam||

    "But unfortunately, rounding up the opposition and labeling them "extreme" and "thuggish" in order to push an agenda seems to be the crux of the Left's strategy these days."

    Rounding up? Distortion, exaggeration and downright lies--these are the crux of right-wing libertarian strategy these days. Fortunately, hardly anyone is listening.

  • jtuf||

    Maybe the left wingers who argue with us here aren't representative, but from their comments I gather that "right wing extremist" includes anyone who disagrees with them on any topic.

  • jtuf||

    Paul, if anyone is shouting down opponents, hanging people in effigy, or holding up Nazi symbols, I condem that. However, all the debates I've heard on the radio did not include any of those tactics.

  • BeesInTheBrain||

    Personally I think the issue is that during the Bush years they thought, "If only we had one of ours in the White House then we could pass XYZ and all of America would love us, after all we're the good guys." Now that they have found out that isn't true they are all bent out of shape.

  • Some Guy||

    But unfortunately, rounding up the opposition and labeling them "extreme" and "thuggish" in order to push an agenda seems to be the crux of the Left's strategy these days.

    Unfortunately, that has been an incredibly successful strategy for both the D's and the R's over the last decade or so.

  • NLE||

    Dear AManda,

    Do you watch Fox News, and if you do why are you ripping off their talking points. I thought Reason was better than that.

    Sincerely,
    a concerned subscriber

  • hmm ||

    Well that was witty. No really. I'm golfclapping on the inside.

  • ||

    After watching the video of one protester getting up directly in front of a taxpayer attempting to ask a question of his representative, seeing the protester shake his finger at the questioner while shouting repeatedly, "Sit down and shut up! Shut up! Shut up! You sit down and shut up!" while his fellow protesters joined in, I find the descriptions 'extreme' and 'thuggish' mild.

    When the average CEO compensation of the top insurance companies is $14,000,000 per year, and they're putting out close to a million and a half per day to lobby congress, it isn't much of a stretch to think they'll try to use intimidation to prevent even a discussion of a public option for health care. When they cannot answer a man's arguments, they will always reort to shouting them down.

  • Rich||

    Communism is a hard sell cell.

  • ||

    i can't wait for the day when all of our problems are solved and the only thing we have left to argue about is health insurance and the production of caffinated beverages.

  • ||

    When the average CEO compensation of the top insurance companies is $14,000,000 per year, and they're putting out close to a million and a half per day to lobby congress, it isn't much of a stretch to think they'll try to use intimidation to prevent even a discussion of a public option for health care. When they cannot answer a man's arguments, they will always reort to shouting them down.

    Can someone please find me an actual example of someone who was paid by a company to get up and rant at a congressman? Yeah I thought not.

    Why would companies spend millions of dollars a year lobbying congress spend money on someone to go to town hall meeting and act like a loon? Really this is conspiracy mongering at it's worst.

    I guarantee anyone standing up and shouting at a congressman isn't motivated by money regardless of their political persuasion.

  • SystemOfARoundingError||

    When the average CEO compensation of the top insurance companies is $14,000,000 per year, and they're putting out close to a million and a half per day to lobby congress, it isn't much of a stretch to think they'll try to use intimidation to prevent even a discussion of a public option for health care. When they cannot answer a man's arguments, they will always reort to shouting them down.


    Why is there a continuous stream of cretins who come to this board who think we will be impressed when they lash out like progress retarding medieval clerics at Profit!?

    Are you so witless you don't see what you are doing to yourself?

    Were you all College Democrats who got a call one day from a government official who cut a deal to retire your student loan debt if you spent a couple of hours on opposition sites promoting The Cause?

    Here is some free advice, take the act to your local newspaper websites, both weeklies and dailies, where there are bound to be some gullible guppies to hook. Here, it is just painful to watch.

  • Aaron||

    I personally feel quite happy when I see the desperation on the politicians' faces when they can't control a meeting and can't get in a word edgewise. I love seeing them sweat because the crowd is a little too rowdy for them. I like the fear they exude as their wild eyes turn to and fro wondering if this mob will go lynch.

    Screw the politicians. ALL OF THEM. Let them live in fear for once. Let them stop going "home" to their "districts" and pretending to have urgent business in Dubai or Israel or wherever it is they take their junkets.

    The less they look like us, the less often people see them in the flesh, the less they are seen as "representatives" and the more their true colors show.

    I hope they all have an aneurysm from the stress. They deserve it. I hate their guts and the stomachs they pack 'em in.

  • ||

    ...the "legitimate conversation" the Democrats say they desperately want.

    That "conversation" consists of you recanting your heresy and begging mercy for the chance to prove your progressive/statist beliefs. Funny thing, but the Dems can't even engage their Blue Dog wing in that kind of conversation, let alone anyone else outside the ProgCauc.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Way to go on the tit-for-tat "well the unions/commies do it too" - now what do you say the next time you see an aggressive union picket line? Accusing your opponent of hypocrisy is the cheapest debate point in the book.


    Accusations of hypocrisy are cheap and effective .

  • hmm||

    I don't think the GOP or RNC has near the social grassroots infrastructure the DNC does. I've sat in on some MO Pro Vote discussions and the network set up by the progressive movement is damn impressive.

    I'm sure some people present are organized by someone, but I saw nothing to make me think the people were bussed in or shipped there or wrangled with prefab signs to protest. It looked like a lot of people with who had a little information and were pissed off. Granted not all the arguments were good ones and many just talking points pushed by one side the level of organization being pointed to by the DNC doesn't seem correct. I think they may be projecting their tactics on the RNC and GOP.

  • ||

    "I think they may be projecting their tactics on the RNC and GOP."

    That alone accounts for half the things they collectively say and do.

  • JB||

    BRING. IT. ON.

    I can't wait to deal with Democrat fetuses. Abortion for every single one of the fuckers.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Sincerely,
    a concerned subscriber observer

  • Jim Treacher||

    "Dissent is the highest form of... er, uh, never mind."

  • ||

    5. Republican leadership is irresponsibly cheering on the thuggish crowds. Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner issued a statement applauding and promoting a video of the disruptions and looking forward to "a long, hot August for Democrats in Congress."

    This is probably the most telling piece to me that the protests etc is truly grass roots.....the republican party does not know its head from its ass and in no way could formulate the negative response this health care reform is getting.

  • ||

    Can someone please find me an actual example of someone who was paid by a company to get up and rant at a congressman?

    If anyone's handing out money for that, how do I apply? I'd happily heckle any of those asswipes who ostensibly represent me in the legislature. I can even make it highly personal.

    -jcr

  • austinite||

    It took forever to get through that 750 comment thread. Now, let me just say that I was proud to hear that a group of Meetup/Facebook/Tea Party people could get the jump on my former Congressman Lloyd Doggett (recently moved across town). That guy is a little too self-righteous, a little too secure, what with all the Austin hippies who are total statists, and he needed to be taken down a notch.

    I don't blame the throng of truly grass-roots protesters for being rambunctious, they were angry and it was a large group. The portrayal of these protesters as "thuggish" is really not a big deal and probably won't bring anyone over to the Dem's side. This memo indeed shows their desperation. The local radio station focused mainly on Doggett's comment that he would vote for the health care bill even if his constituents were against it. I just wish I was there to ask him a few pointed questions and give him my copy of The Road to Serfdom.

    I do wonder, though, where do you go from here? It's not like this guy will ever be voted out.

  • ||

    I do wonder, though, where do you go from here? It's not like this guy will ever be voted out.

    Clinton wasn't voted out, but he was pretty much thwarted as soon as the democrats lost the house.

    -jcr

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Federal Dog,

    I would not have anticipated that Obama would have so utterly imploded so quickly.

    I actually thought Obama had more class than he's shown since he got in the White House. Silly me.

    But the political implosion is no surprise. Obama thinks he won because everybody likes his destructive asshole agenda. He misses the fact that he won, only because he had no real opposition.



    alan,

    It occurred to me when Obama made the comment about being a Chicago School free market at heart, he was setting up his stakes for the Democratic congressional collapse to come back as a Clinton(Bill) moderate for the second half of the first term.

    I can't believe Obama is going to be able to do this. It's just not in him. He's Jimmy Carter's soul mate far more than Bill Clinton's.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Aaron,

    I personally feel quite happy when I see the desperation on the politicians' faces

    How I've wished that Americans were a lot more like Romans.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Obama is a Chicago School Socialist, his health care "plan" will bankrupt the nation and it will enslave us all. The fucker anyway.


    Now, was that good enough to make the list of things deserving an official DNC rebuttal? I'd feel like I did my good deed for the day if I got rebutted.

    Rebutted?

    I need to get out of here.....

  • <strike>strike through</strike||

    MSNBC super-cunts Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann were apoplectic over this last night.
    I made popcorn and laughed and laughed.

  • Mad Max||

    'Why is there a continuous stream of cretins who come to this board who think we will be impressed when they lash out like progress retarding medieval clerics at Profit!?'

    Again with the medieval-bashing. I won't claim that the Middle Ages was Libertopia, any more than today's era. But yes, there were merchants and even bankers who made profits with clerical approval. There was, of course, the concept of just price and reasonable interest. That's not the same as saying the 'clerics' were ranting against all profit. On the contrary, not only did theologians defend the idea of making a reasonable profit, many churchmen and Church institutions were in business for themselves. Monastaries grew and sold crops, church people engaged in financial dealing, etc. In fact, the criticism of reformers was that the Church was *too* involved in these money-making activities.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Strange, but I can't seem to recall any concern on the part of the DNC when Obama was whipping up anger at financial executives getting bonuses and consequently they started getting death threats and ACORN started staking out there houses.

    I guess "thuggish" behavior only counts when it's in opposition to something the DNC wants.

  • Fluffy||

    I can't believe some of you are coming out and defending these busloads of crazies and their ridiculous, coordinated, intimidatory behavior - it does nothing to dissuade anyone with concerns over health care reform, kills serious discussion and lauds blind, bullish, lazy, fat-ass ignorance. Way to go on the tit-for-tat "well the unions/commies do it too" - now what do you say the next time you see an aggressive union picket line? Accusing your opponent of hypocrisy is the cheapest debate point in the book.

    I will absolutely defend these guys.

    These town halls are bullshit political theatre. Nothing more. They aren't "town meetings" where the public is being given a voice in future policy. They're just for show.

    What was supposed to happen was that the Congresspeople could come home and, in front of the local media, have staged little meetings where progressive activists would tell them how much they love Obamacare and how much they would love a public option included in Obamacare. The local media would then reliably broadcast what a great guy Congressman X was for listening to his constituents, and Congressman X would return to Washington and announce how much his constituents loved Obamacare and the public option.

    These guys have decided to disrupt that trite little political theater with some political theater of their own. I for one applaud them and salute them.

    Don't ask me to believe absurd statements like "Democrat Congressmen [or any Congressmen really] are interested in debating an issue with their constituents before they decide where they stand on it" because that's just crap. Even just for insulting my intelligence with these town halls, I'm delighted that these members of Congress are experiencing these little days of rage. I wish the crowds were ten times as big. I wish the cops had to fly Congresspeople off the roofs of high schools by helicopter to get away.

  • PR||

    Poor proggs. People getting up in their faces over health care nationalization. Great idea Obama!

  • ||

    Damn straight fluffy.

  • Rich||

    Well said, Fluffy.

    Just keep scanning the fine print in the bills for special treatments to cure "struck nerves".

  • Xeones||

    I wish the crowds were ten times as big. I wish the cops had to fly Congresspeople off the roofs of high schools by helicopter to get away.

    Hear, hear!

    Politicians ought to live in absolute terror of a day when 535 heads adorn the Capitol lawn.

  • creech||

    Of course it came to this. Letter in today's paper accusing Republicans of telling lies through the "lunatic fringe": "Where do you suppose they learned about its effectiveness? Perhaps from Dr. Goebbels, Adolf Hitler's propaganda minister? His thesis was that if one tells a lie, no matter how big, just keep repeating it because eventualy quite a few folks will believe it. He was right and many Germans not only believes those lies, they did for them."
    When a 1,000 page bill is introduced and the President himself admits he doesn't know everything that is in it, then both sides are inevitably going to mis-state what is proposed.
    Some of the attacks on this bill are obviously things that aren't in the bill, but are features that the protestor is telling his or her congressman to make sure don't get put in through reconciliation. So, if you want a reasoned debate, put out a two page bill - in simple English - that most everyone can understand. And if anyone thinks Dr. Goebbel's methods are the exclusive property of one party or another, they are naive or engaging in Goebbel's tactics.

    Is it too early to drink?

  • ||

    "I actually thought Obama had more class than he's shown since he got in the White House. Silly me."

    Ebeneezer Scrooge,

    An honest question: where did you get this idea about Obama? From his relationships with Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers? From how he publicly denounced the grandmother who raised him after his parents abandoned him? From his bragging about how he would grind burning cigarette butts into the hallway carpets of his dorm?

  • ||

    Bush/Cheyney destroyed careers, publicly ridiculed, scape-goated and imprisoned, and even placed people on no fly lists that publicly spoke out against the administration or went off message.

    [citation needed]

    What Fluffy said.

    For all the allegations that these people are organized and funded by Nefarious Forces, I haven't seen a single piece of, you know, proof, or even anyone put a name to these Nefarious Forces other than the RNC.

    And the idea that the RNC could organize a grassroots anything is laughable.

  • ||

    Fluffy, how exactly would you like your congressmen and women to interact with constituents mid-term? If voters yell them out of town, there is zero discussion. If voters attend and pose genuine questions, they're apparently complicit in useless theater. While I sympathize with your general frustration at the caliber of politicians and government overreach, it's too easy to slam all debate as useless, less easy to come up with a democratic, functional model for public accountability outside of periodic elections.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Fluffy, how exactly would you like your congressmen and women to interact with constituents mid-term?



    Don't know about Fluffy, but every time I send (you know, on 24# bond by US post) mine a letter (carefully written and edited---free of profanities, imputations of wickedness, and ad hominem arguments) detailing why I oppose some bill or plan, I get back a copy of their latest talking points.

    Every time.

    It just doesn't seem like they are actually interested in "interact"ing or in the intellectual stimulation of a good argument, or even in communications beyond telling me what I will do. By order.

    And certainly these particular events are staged dramas meant for the media to consume and have nothing to do with actually collecting the opinions of those they supposedly serve.

  • ||

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/08/a-first-hand-view-of-a-raucous-town-hall-meeting.html


    This is a pretty good read. The crowd doesn't quite fit the narative of astro turfed right wing wackos. The outrage over this as usual has more to do with class than anything else. It is one thing when college educated progressives come out in force and recreate their 1960s glory. But when people who live on the Eastern Shore and eat at Olive Gardens turn up to cause trouble, it is fascism!!

  • ||

    Fluffy, how exactly would you like your congressmen and women to interact with constituents mid-term? If voters yell them out of town, there is zero discussion.

    There is zero discussion with constituents, ever, anyway.

    What these clowns need to feel is The Fear. And the only way to put The Fear into them is angry mobs, shouting down their lies and running them out of the room.

  • Fluffy||

    Fluffy, how exactly would you like your congressmen and women to interact with constituents mid-term? If voters yell them out of town, there is zero discussion.

    You see, that's what I dispute.

    If we are measuring the relative amount of constituent feedback produced by:

    1. A town hall attended by the same old activists and public service employee union members that attend all Democrat events, that proceeds calmly through the usual script of these events

    2. A town hall where scores of enraged constituents who have never attended one of the Congressperson's events before turn up shouting and raising hell, and the cops have to come to escort the Congressperson to their car

    ...I think #2 actually is the event that delivers more actual and meaningful communications content. For some of these Congresspeople I'm sure it's the first unfiltered and unscripted feedback they've had from the public in years.

  • ||

    The America people were against both TARP and the stimulus by pretty good margins. Both of those passed anyway. The majority are now against the Obamacare and they are trying to ram it down our throats. I would love to know what exactly the American people are supposed to do to be heard if not this.

  • ||

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0409/20871.html

    ..."These are complicated companies," one CEO said. Offered another: "We're competing for talent on an international market."

    But President Barack Obama wasn't in a mood to hear them out. He stopped the conversation and offered a blunt reminder of the public's reaction to such explanations. "Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn't buying that."

    "My administration," the president added, "is the only thing between you and the pitchforks." ...

  • ||


    Hipocrisy much?


    Bring weapons with you in 2012.

  • ||

    What these clowns need to feel is The Fear. And the only way to put The Fear into them is angry mobs, shouting down their lies and running them out of the room.



    Because a fringe minority of old white teabaggers deserve to have their ridiculous talk radio fueled lies completely take over any discussion? Nothing they're bitching about has any relationship with reality, and they're obviously not interested in learning any facts otherwise they'd shut their fat faces and listen for a second. Congressmen have received death threats over a piece of legislation. Not because it's radical, but because the teabaggers favorite propagandists have them whipped up into apoplexy, which isn't hard since, you know, black guy in the white house.

  • ||

    Now that's funny. I always cut n paste my "open in new page" HTML. Guess I need to paste in the article URL and not the URL of where to get the open in new page HTML.



    Try this - Charges dropped against black trash that brought weapons to the ballot box

  • ||

    Oh shit, I forgot something. Dropped charges means they must have been innocent...

  • ||

    "Not because it's radical, but because the teabaggers favorite propagandists have them whipped up into apoplexy, which isn't hard since, you know, black guy in the white house."

    Desperation or a sign of the permenent damage cuased by BDS?

  • Other Matt||

    Damn. 106 comments, I thought joe had returned for a minute there.

  • ||

    I just got coffee and the TV was blaring a CNN report on some kind of pro healthcare march on the Capitol. Needless to say the coverage had a bit more of a positive tilt to it than the coverage of the other side.

  • hmm||

    The dropped charges are more nefarious than first glance. The people failed to show and would have been found guilty. Not only were the charges dropped they had no leg work beyond sentencing and they were dropped. The reason given was resources.

  • ||

    Because a fringe minority of old white teabaggers deserve to have their ridiculous talk radio fueled lies completely take over any discussion?

    See? This is why there's no point in trying to have a discussion. Thanks for making the point that its pitchforks and torches time if you want to stop this, Tony.

    Nothing they're bitching about has any relationship with reality, and they're obviously not interested in learning any facts otherwise they'd shut their fat faces and listen for a second.

    They are being lied to by people who have admitted that they haven't even read the bill(s), Tony. Exactly what could they expect to learn?

  • ||

    Fundamentally, whether it is Obamacare, Major Industry Bail-outs, Cap and Trade, Cash for Clunkers, SCHIP programmes, or whatever centrally derived Government scheme is promulgated by the Democrats (and Republicans), a large majority of them, in both the House and Senate, are duplicitous, disingenuous, culturally arrogant, pusillanimous poltroons that have no qualms of the incremental stripping of the citizenry of their liberty and free-will. At present, under this new administration, they have clearly shifted to a brazen, unadulterated, hyper-acceleration of the "stripping." This infrastructural push towards a "Nationalised" society is fuelled further by the wayward, ineffectual Liberal Democratic mass across the nation that perpetually returns these poltroons to Congress. This fracture betwixt this mass that embraces the entitlement principle and groupthink mindset, and the Libertarian, self-reliant, critically thinking set is becoming more severe and may be irreparable.

    "A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." - Thomas Jefferson

    Cedo nulli

  • ||

    R C Dean,

    Nothing Congress is gonna pass will resemble anything teabaggers fear. I want single-payer but it's not gonna happen, and even if it did, nobody's freedom would be infringed upon. Fascism will still not be here. Our country would survive just as it has the entire time it's had a mixed economy. I welcome debate, but there is no debate coming from the opposition. Just tired old paranoia.

  • ||

    And not even paranoia about policy outcomes... just vague propaganda-fueled hysteria. It's a political stunt and the GOP has its fingerprints all over it. It's about damaging Obama politically and nothing more. It's disingenuous.

  • ||

    "4. Their goal is to disrupt and shut down legitimate conversation."

    How about open, honest, legitimate conversation about how we got on this bad road, how we once had something actually approaching free-market health care -- which WORKED -- and how to get back to it in a way that doesn't crush anyone who is now dependent on the current system or soon to be so?

    It's not that the concept is unthinkable or unworkable, it's that the powers-that-be don't WANT to think about it, much less sincerely try to make it work, because they are invested in their own ideas that trend toward socialism. That's why we only hear about varieties of socialist health care (or "free-market" care that is so regulated and constrained by government as to make the use of that term a lie).

  • Federal Dog||

    What's with your fixation on fellatio, Tony? Clean up your language and get your mind out of the gutter.

  • ||

    "What these clowns need to feel is The Fear. And the only way to put The Fear into them is angry mobs, shouting down their lies and running them out of the room."

    I agree about "The Fear," but I think the use of angry mobs is of limited utility, especially as it can be used against the side that the mobs are ostensibly championing -- as we now see.

    Pols and their handlers would get "The Fear," however, if we voters would just turn up at the polls for the next several elections and vote to defeat the incumbents -- even the so-called "good" ones -- then vote to replace them with the third-party or independent candidates who, in our opinions, best exemplified statesmanship and a commitment to the Constitution. That is to say, if the majority would vote for NEITHER the Republican OR the Democrat, the two-party poobahs would get the message immediately, and they would know "The Fear" in a way that no mob could ever transmit to them.

    The only thing that pols respond to is losing an election or the credible threat of same. Period. Can we summon the discipline to do what must be done for the next several Novembers? The people in charge of the two-party "system" have a pretty cushy, secure deal. Unless we make the deal considerably less cushy and secure for them, they'll just keep feeding us what we have been getting for the past several decades. I hope that the impotence of the Demos and GOP to solve our problems, but their equal capacity to EXACERBATE them, is lost on nobody.

  • ||

    The only thing that pols respond to is losing an election or the credible threat of same. Period.



    Let's hope that's all that is required. This is a Democracy, and a lot of the bitching is coming from rightwingers who are unhappy that their side lost. I was around during the Clinton years and it's perfectly clear the GOP and its fans are capable of engineering a coup when they don't like the party of the guy who's president. I think we should all agree to denounce tactics that put "fear" of anything other than electoral defeat in the minds of politicians.

  • ||

    # Fluffy | August 6, 2009, 9:07am | #

    Thank you for that post, Fluffy. What Fluffy said, you guys, far above my poor power to add or detract.

  • ||

    # EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy | August 6, 2009, 10:33am | #

    ## Fluffy, how exactly would you like your
    ## congressmen and women to interact with
    ## constituents mid-term?

    # Don't know about Fluffy, but every time
    # I send (you know, on 24# bond by US post)
    # mine a letter (carefully written and
    # edited---free of profanities, imputations
    # of wickedness, and ad hominem arguments)
    # detailing why I oppose some bill or plan, I
    # get back a copy of their latest
    # talking points.

    # Every time.

    Me too. Whether I send them paper or electrons, I always get back canned crap that is, at best, only marginally responsive to my original letter. In my case, this has been happening for THE LAST TWENTY YEARS. I did once get an unsolicited letter from my State-government Senator congratulating me on a published letter-to-the editor of our local newspaper, in which I supported an idea that the legislator apparently also supported. But it was a rather perfunctory atta-boy, instead of any attempt at correspondence in discussion of the issue.

    On several occasions, I have asked my federal legislators to justify their support of particularly egregious legislation by citing relevant passages in the Constitution. That was the main point of each such letter. In no case did the legislature supply the requested citations, or even acknowledge that I had made the request by explicitly refusing to answer. The main point of my letter was simply ignored, and they sent me talking points.

    Now, I no longer expect a reply, much less a responsive one. I just send things in to my elected officials to go on record as being in favor of or opposed to one thing or another. The best I hope for is to be represented by a cipher-tick in a tally somewhere.

    The number of letters I have sent to officials has apparently landed me on a list of activists or agitators, however. This got me an invite to one of those "town hall" political theater performances a few months ago, and I went. More recently, my Congress rep had his robo-drone call me one evening and hook me into the "listen only" side of an audio conference call "town hall meeting" that was allegedly happening live at the moment. All of the questions were pat, and so were the answers. Predictably, the "very last question" was from someone who thanked the congressman profusely for everything he had done for our area, and for taking the time to chat with us, and then proceeded to ask, (I paraphrase) "with all the giving that you do, Congressman, I was wondering if there was anything WE could do for YOU, and if you had any comments to make about that."

    My wife rushed in with a bucket when she heard my retching noises from the other room.

  • ||

    I get back a copy of their latest talking points.

    Every time.


    Tell me about it. That asshole Mike Honda won't even co-sponsor the bill to audit the fed.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Tony,

    Blow it out your race-baiting ass, you boot-licking idiot.

    -jcr

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement